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Transport Revolution

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Barthe Transport Revolution Myriam 4�7 Until late in the 1700's, in both Europe and America, most roads were either rough tracks created by hoof and wheel or mere paths blazed through the wilderness. People traveled by horseback or on foot between towns. During cold or wet seasons, traffic was especially difficult or impossible. One of the problem was that each parish had to mend its own roads. Most people in the parish had to work 4 or 6 days on the roads each year, or pay money instead. Not surprisingly, they disliked this and skirted the work. During the eighteenth century, a new system developed. Groups of men agreed to keep a stretch of road in good repair if they could charge a fee to every one who used the roads. They put barriers called turnpikes across the road to stop travelers until they had pay the toll. Most of the early toll- bars had pikes on them, and it was from these that the roads got their name. The price of the toll depended on the length of the road and the nature of the traffic (see source 1). ...read more.


He paid special attention to the bed of the road and where the soil was soft, he laided great quantities of heather as a foundation for layers of stone and gravel. John used jagged broken stones which bound together under the pressure of wheeled vehicles (see source 3). Thomas Telford was born in Westerkirk, Dumfries, Scotland, in 1757, the son of a poor Scottish shepherd. He apprenticed for a time to a stonemason, but then trained as a surveyor, before moving to London in 1792 in search of work. He found employment working on Somerset House in the capitol, but later moved to Portsmouth to work on the docks. A patron from Dumfries got him the post of Surveyor of Public Works for the County of Shropshire. In this capacity he was responsible for the construction of the Ellesmere Canal in 1793, and the Severn Suspension Bridge at Montford (1790). This bridge was an engineering marvel, and it helped make his reputation as one of the greatest civil engineers in Britain. His success led to a government appointment to survey the roads in rural Scotland as part of a major transportation improvement scheme. ...read more.


Firstly, because they were ideal for carrying out low- cost improvements to old roads instead of building new ones. This is why Macadam's method of making and repairing roads was consulted by turnpike trusts. He showed that if the subsoil was well drained and the surface of the road slightly raised, it would carry heavy traffic all the year round without the need for costly foundations. His roads were curved from the center to the edges. On top of the hearth Macadam laid three layers of small broken stones. In the bottom two layers, the stones had to be of about the same size and weigh no more than six ounces. The top layer sometimes had smaller stones. The coach wheels packed these stones down tight and broke off a fine grit which bound the surface together. After a while water would run off the surface and not wet the soil underneath (see source 6). He also realized that improvements would have a greater effects if groups of trusts amalgamated to produce long, continuous sections of good road. He succeeded in persuading Parliament to consolidate all the Turnpikes in the London area under one Metropolitan Turnpike Trust (1825) to which he was appointed Surveyor General. His methods are still nowadays used. ...read more.

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